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Schools to get help with bounced checks
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Bryan County Elementary School third-grader John Robert Kroymann tells those attending Thursday’s Bryan County School Board meeting about his award winning short story “The Adventures of Roderick the Rock in the Rock Cycle” while Superintendent John Oliver and BCES Principal Debbie Laing look on.
Maybe it’s a sign of the economy and a need to find every nickle. Maybe it’s a sign of the future.
Whatever the case, Bryan County School system employees won’t be trying to collect bounced lunch money checks anymore after the Bryan County Board of Education named Duluth-based Envision Payment Solutions to do the job.
The company collects on bad checks for a number of school districts in Georgia, according to its Web site. It pays the school system the amount of the check up front, then collects that money and a fee from the check writer, according to Superintendent John Oliver said.
“We don’t see a downside to this,” he told the BoE, which met Thursday at Bryan County Elementary School.
Assistant Superintendent Brad Anderson said Bryan Schools get approximately 100 bounced checks a year, for a variety of reasons.
“Typically, the amounts are not large sums but have totaled as much as $5,000 in a given year,” Anderson said. “When we receive bad checks, it takes a significant amount of time for an employee to complete the necessary paperwork in an attempt to collect on the bad check.”
Anderson said a school system employee would have to send letters and  make phone calls in an attempt to collect on bounced checks, “and ultimately file the proper warrant in our efforts to collect money owed to the board of education.”
The BoE talked money earlier in the week, as well. School board members held a called meeting Tuesday in order to talk about the budget for the 2011 fiscal year, which runs from June 30-July 1.
Last year, the BoE managed to avoid cutting programs or layoffs by approving a 2 mill tax hike and slashing its operating budget by some $4 million to $49.5 million. But further reductions in state funding and a growing student population could leave Bryan Schools $2.8 million short in FY 2011, Chief Financial Officer Melanie James told the BoE.
Among the proposals on the table to make up the difference are eliminating unfilled para-profesional, teaching and maintenance positions, getting rid of the elementary Spanish program and reducing the number of curriculum resource teachers. Cutting the work year for some administrators and slicing $400,000 from the operations budget along are also possibilities, Alexander said, but no decisions have been made.

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